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How to Use Google Scholar & Google Books

Learn how these Google products can support your academic work

Google Scholar

About Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a search engine that provides access to a wide variety of scholarly literature including articles, books, dissertations, conference proceedings, patents (though for patents and prior art, try the Google Patents), legal opinions, and more. The results from a Google Scholar search are more focused on academic and scholarly materials than those returned through a standard Google search. Google Scholar can be a helpful tool for  academic researchers, as it searches a very wide body of results and also provides links to things that cite the item appearing in the results list (see below). As opposed to the Library's databases, there is no way to limit your search results solely to peer-reviewed articles when using Google Scholar. If you have been instructed to find peer-reviewed articles, you should begin your research using the Library’s databases to conduct your research. If you need assistance, please go to the reference desk and ask a librarian to help you.

How to Access Google Scholar

You may type the following URL Or, from the Google homepage, select “Even more” from the “More” drop-down menu, and click the link for “Scholar” under “Specialized Search.” Google Scholar search boxes are also conveniently located on the homepage of each subject LibGuide. If you are using Google Scholar off-campus or if you want to make sure that Google Scholar is including the library's resources in your search results, please see the section below, "Finding Full-Text through the Leatherby Libraries."

How to use Advanced Search in Google Scholar

Once Google Scholar opens, instead of using the single search box, you can click the down arrow at the right side of the search box to open the Advanced Search option as a small pop-up box (shown below). Using the “Advanced Scholar Search” interface allows you to enter search terms in one or more of the search boxes to utilize Boolean searching concepts, phrase searching (including the use of quotation marks for exact phrases), author searching, limiting to particular journals, and limiting by publication date.

Finding the Full-Text through Leatherby Libraries

At times only the citation and abstract (summary) of an item may be available through Google Scholar or you may be prompted to purchase the full-text. However, you can set your computer to identify when a full-text version is available through the Leatherby Libraries’ databases. To ensure your computer is set to enable this feature, go to the Google Scholar homepage and click the link for “Settings” on the top right corner. Choose “Library links.” If the option “Chapman University–Where Can I Get This?” does not appear in the list of options below the search box, do the following:

1.  In the search box, enter Chapman University and click the  search button.

2.  Select all possible options, including “Chapman University – Where Can I get This?”

3.  Click the “Save” button.

Results containing the “Where Can I Get This” link lead to full-text options available through the Leatherby Libraries’ databases (see the screenshot on other side under “How to Read a Google Scholar Citation”).

About Google Books

Google Books is a search service that uses digitized books for for searchable content instead of webpages. Depending on the title and its copyright or author’s permissions, one of the following viewing options will be made available: Full View, Limited Preview, Snippet View, or No Preview Available. Titles that are out of copyright--as well as those afforded full-text viewing rights by the author--may be viewed in their entirety. Some full-text titles may be downloaded, saved, and printed. Additional information regarding viewing capabilities is provided in the link below.

How to use Advanced Search in Google

Google Books utilizes full-text searching capabilities so that you can locate books containing your search terms. A limited selection of magazines are also now included with Google Books.

Note: Google Books does not provide an exhaustive catalog or full-text availability for all books that may be relevant to your topic. Therefore, you should also search the Leatherby Libraries Catalog, and possibly additional library catalogs, in conjunction with your Google Books searches. When the full-text of a book is not available, you may request an Interlibrary Loan. Please see the “Interlibrary Loan” section of this guide for more information.

How to Access Google Books

You may type the following URL or use the link provided above. 


Google Books supports an "Advanced Book Search" interface. The “Advanced Book Search” page allows you to search by title and author, search for exact phrases, and more. You can also limit your search to “Full view only” to retrieve only full-text books. By selecting the “Full view only” option, you may eliminate relevant books from your search results simply because they aren't available in full-text.

It's also possible to search for magazines by selecting the Magazines from the Content section of the Advanced Search pop-up.

How to Read a Google Books Citation

The information below can help you decipher the various parts of Google Books citations.

1. Title – Links to an overview, a preview, or, if available, the full-text of a book.

2. Viewing Options – Lets you know if a Full View, Limited Preview, Snippet View, or No Preview is available.

Book Viewer

The interface for viewing your selected book has many features.

1. Toolbar – Here you will find tools for resizing the viewing area, adjusting the page layout, etc.

2. Navigation – You may select to navigate forward or backward through the book via the arrows or by page number.

3. Search – The search feature allows you to search within this book for key terms and phrases.

Reading Google Scholar results

How to Read a Google Scholar Citation

The information below can help you decipher the various parts of Google Scholar citations.

Above: A sample citation from Google Scholar. Clicking on “Where Can I Get This?” (circled above) will link to the Leatherby Libraries and provide any full-text options.

Explanation of Links

1. Title – Links to the abstract of the article, or, when available on the web, the full-text.

2. Cited by – Identifies other works that have cited the item. See the box below for more details.

3. Related articles – Finds other works that are similar.

4. Where Can I Get This? – This link indicates that full-text options are available through Leatherby Libraries. Clicking on the “Where Can I Get This?” link will direct you to the location of the full-text through the Leatherby Libraries website, as shown below.

Click on the title link to access the full-text through one of the Library’s databases.

Generating Citations in Google Scolar

Creating a Citation

Google Scholar has a citation generator for the items listed in the results. Simply click on the Cite link presented below the item's entry.

As is shown below, the citations are created in three standard formats: MLA, APA, and Chicago. Additionally, if you use a citation manager in order to collect and track the works that you find for a research project, Google Scholar can interoperate with BibTeX, EndNote, RefMan, and RefWorks.

Using Google Scholar to find citing articles

Finding articles that cite an item in Google Scholar

Many items that appear in a Google Scholar search results list will have a "Cited by" link in the options appearing below the result text (indicated by the "2" in the image above). This has several uses, including for the literature search strategy of "citation chasing", where related items can be found by seeing what cites an initial article. Citation chasing, also known as citation chaining or "following the citation ladder", is especially useful for following direct developments on a topic or when keyword-based searches are difficult to narrow/broaden appropriately. It is easy to follow citations "downwards" - that is, to read a works cited or bibliography and examine what an article cites - but reading "upwards" requires assistance from tools that compile citations. Google Scholar is a great option for this because of the breadth of content ingested.

"Cited by" in Google Scholar for authors

Google Scholar tracks citations of an item in its database and compiles some common metrics. On an author's page within Google Scholar, a calculated h-index, i10-index, and raw citation count appear on the top right. An alert can also be created for new items citing an article by first clicking the "Cited by" link and then the "Create alert" link that appears below the filter options on the left side of the page.

Creating new item alerts in Google Scholar

Alerts for new results for a search query

Below the filtering options in the results page of Google Scholar resides the "Create alert" link, which will create a new item in the "Alerts" section of your Google Scholar account (which can be found by going through the top-left hamburger menu > Alerts). You will receive email notifications when new items that match your search query are added to Google Scholar, usually once a day at most.

Alerts for new articles by an author

You can receive email alerts for any new items linked to a specific author profile within Google Scholar by first navigating to the profile (authors with profiles in Google Scholar will appear underlined in the author list of any given result) and then clicking "Follow" near the top of the page.

Alerts for new items citing an article in Google Scholar

Clicking the "Cited by" link that appears below some items in a Google Scholar results page will take you to a new results page containing the items that cite the original item. Like on any other Google Scholar result page, clicking the "Create alert" button on the left-hand side below the filter options will create a new email alert, in this case for new items that cite the initial work.